I dated this man last year for about 8 months. I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship at the time. Dated him more out of boredom. But he took it more seriously. He had alot of anger issues and was slightly emotionally abusive. One time I let him discipline my then 7 yr old boy, but he got too rough and threw him across his bed. I did not condone this and I swore to my son that he would never have to be around that man again. We had some miscommunication a couple nights later that I used to my advantage and pushed his buttons enough to make him spiral out of control and he came and broke into my house while the kids I were sleeping. No one was hurt and the kids never woke up. I broke up with him the next day after the cops escorted him home. Now to present day another 10 months later we are talking again. He has received enough counseling to help himself and I see him as different and changed for the better. I also am ready for a more committed relationship so we have been seeing each other for about 2 months now. I am so happy and we’ve apologized and he has validated my feelings about what happened that night and in general so that we can try and move on and Im making more of an effort towards a relationship this time, but my son is terrified of him. The bf and I are taking it much slower this time and not involving the kids at all for at least 6 months but will it be possible to reintroduce them and patch things up or am I being selfish for even trying? I gave them my word that he would never be in our lives again because I never in a million years thought it would be possible for him to have changed. I am at a crossroads. Thank you for any advice you have!

A: as much as I’m someone for second chances the damage done to your son by a relative stranger (at the time of the abuse) isn’t going to be undone with an apology. You’ll have to make a decision between between your son and the faith you have in your boyfriend. Your son would have twice been let down by you. The first time when the abuse happened, and the second in you going back on your word.

I recommend two things. First, I would set up some individual sessions for yourself with a therapist familiar with instances of abuse and domestic violence. Talk to this person about forgiving your boyfriend — and your son’s concern. If this therapy helps, and it seems as if you want to go forward, I would highly recommend a meeting with a family therapist so that you, your boyfriend, and your children can all meet together in the safe confines of a family therapist office. If you’re going to go forward — family therapy will be necessary.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral